Lack of appropriate skills in the workforce contributing to demands on mental health services

    NHS Provider survey depicts a health service at breaking point

      • Sector News
    • 17.05.21

    Mental health trust leaders have unanimously agreed that the demand on children and young people (CYP) mental health services has significantly (80%) or moderately (20%) increased when compared to six months ago. 

    In response to a survey carried out by NHS Providers, the chairs and chief executives of CYP mental health services said that this meant they were struggling to meet demand, with waiting times dramatically increasing. 

    The top three reasons why trust leaders say demand for CYP mental health services are not being met are: 

    • Increased complexity/acuity of caseloads due to the COVID-19 pandemic (88%)
    • Additional demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic (42%)
    • Lack of suitable social care provision (42%) 

    The next significant reasons included, ‘not enough patient beds’ (36%) and ‘workforce shortages’ (33%).

    Lack of appropriate skills in existing the workforce was also voted for by 11% of respondents. 

    Of the respondents, 83% of trust leaders said they are extremely (37%) or moderately (47%) concerned about staff wellbeing and current levels of stress and burnout across their CYP services workforce. A further 10% are somewhat concerned.

    Altogether 35 trust leaders responded to the survey. The responses were from 30 unique trusts, accounting for 58% of the sector that provide CYP mental health services.

    NHS Providers: Children and young people’s mental health services survey

    Maybo perspective

    • Staffing is a huge issue across the health sector at the moment but specifically in mental health services. The 2019 Mental Health Implementation Plan, for the NHS Long Term Plan, outlined that 27,640 more mental health staff would need to be recruited, by 2023/24, to achieve the ambition of delivering evidence-based services to an additional 2 million people.
    • Data published by NHS Digital has revealed that rates of probable mental disorders have dramatically increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, with 16% of children aged 5 to 16 years being identified as having a probable mental disorder in 2020, which has increased from 10.8% in 2017.
    • Due to children waiting longer to access services, this is increasing the pressure on paediatric services in acute hospitals also leading to an increased need for training. This means that it is essential that healthcare staff are adequately trained with the skills to prevent and de-escalate behaviours that represent a risk to safety that may be exhibited by people receiving treatment in mental health settings.
    • By building staff’s confidence and competence in how to prevent and defuse behaviours of concern, we believe that a service user’s quality of life can be greatly improved, supporting their journey to recovery. Our training includes a balance of: Proactive strategies that teach staff how to identify and respond to a patient’s physiological and emotional needs, improve their environment and engage them in ways that reduce behaviours of concern. Reactive strategies to safely manage any emotive and risky situations. To learn more about them click here.

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